Posting blinds is a very important aspect of the betting structure of Texas Hold’em poker. It keeps the action in a poker game moving and influences the way people play the game, including whether or not they will fold, check or increase their bets. As the blinds increase, they can also make the game more exciting.
In Texas Hold’em there are two types of blind bets: the small blind and the big blind. These blinds are forced bets, which must be made by players who are participating in a hand. In Texas Hold’em, the dealer button indicates the position of the dealer and the dealing schedule; the button moves around the table to keep track of the dealer position. The small blind is always posted by the person to the left of the dealer. The big blind is always posted by the person to the left of the small blind. So, the onus for posting these bets is rotated as the dealer button moves around the table.
The small and big blinds are posted before the pocket hands are dealt, before the community cards are dealt and before the players have a clue as to the outcome of the dealing or the hand. Because they have made an initial investment in the hand, these players are then motivated to stay in the hand, even if they don’t like their cards, in order to get a return. This becomes especially risky as the game progresses, others are eliminated and the blinds increase incrementally. At some point, the blinds will be so high, that paying them can break a player.
Normally, the small blind is half of the big blind and the big blind is the same amount as the minimum bet. In a Texas Hold’em tournament, these amounts are pre-determined. At the beginning of the tournament, the blinds will be a lower amount and will begin to increase as the tournament moves forward. The blinds are either increased after a pre-determined set period of time or after a pre-determined set number of hands. This increases the action of the game and eliminates any low-ranking players from the game.
Another forced bet that can be applied is called an ante. This can be used in addition to bets in a Texas Hold’em tournament. The ante is a pre-determined amount that each player must post before the cards are dealt. This can increase the action of the game and considerably increases the winnings in the pot before a hand has even begun. For instance, if the small blind is $20 and the big blind is $40 and the ante is $10 in a five player game, the pot already contains $110 before the cards are even dealt.
As you can see, forced bets are an important part of the betting schedule in Texas Hold’em style poker, needed to keep the game moving, eliminate straggling opponents and motivate betting.